Scientists test BOUNCY pavements made from recycled tyres similar to flooring from children’s playgrounds – saying they could save THOUSANDS of lives
- New pavement surface could reduce injuries for those who lose their footing
- Falls are the most common cause of deaths from injury in those over 75
- Similarly, nearly 100,000 people a year in England suffer hip fractures from falls
A pavement made of bouncy material that could save ‘thousands of lives’ is in development.
Nearly 100,000 people a year in England suffer hip fractures, and falls are the most common cause of deaths from injury in those over 75.
However, a pavement surface – more than half of which is made of recycled rubber tyres – could reduce injuries for those who lose their footing.
A bouncy pavement made of of recycled rubber tyres that could save ‘thousands of lives’ is in development (stock image)
It works similarly to the material in the ground in play areas, which prevents broken bones if children topple from swings or slides.
But the new type of asphalt, presented at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle, is durable enough to cope with pedestrians.
On a conventional road surface, a fall from just eight inches carries a 90 per cent risk of head injury, and a 55 per cent risk that it will be severe.
But safety tests show the impact-absorbing surface drastically reduces this. It is being tested in Sweden, and is hoped to be rolled out around the world.
Professor Cesare Sangiorgi, of the University of Bologna in Italy, who is part of a team developing the material, said: ‘My mother, who is 75, told me she wasn’t going out because it was chilly and she was scared she might fall.
‘But if people fall on our pavement, they are less likely to suffer injuries because the severity will be substantially reduced.’
It works similarly to the material in the ground in play areas, which prevents broken bones if children topple from swings or slides (stock image)
Dr Viveca Wallqvist, of RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, said: ‘Thousands of lives could be saved by this surface, both in the UK and other countries.’
Pavements are 95 per cent an ‘aggregate’ of crushed rock, sand and gravel, and 5 per cent bitumen, a thick tar-like material taken from crude oil. Scientists changed the recipe to make asphalt whose volume is 60 per cent rubber from recycled tyres.
It is part of a project called SaferUp, which is EU-funded at a cost of around £200,000.
Caroline Abrahams, of charity Age UK, said: ‘Falls are a major hazard to older people, so anything we can do to lessen the severity of the injuries they cause is definitely worth exploring.’